Find a back issue

How I Celebrated Chinese New Year

Homemade pork dumplings with green onion, garlic, and ginger

My family used to have the weirdest Chinese New Year tradition. When I was a young lass, my mother would scrub seven or eight coins really well and hide them inside her homemade pork dumplings so she could watch my brother and I go cockfight crazy as we each attempted to amass the most number of coins. To our disappointment, my father would always win; his superior chopstick skills and fast-eating ways would earn him a shining victory (plus some pained teeth from biting down too hard). His winnings meant that he’d have the most prosperity for the rest of the year.

Jump for more traditions.

Chinese people are superstitious – I mean, very superstitious – when it comes to certain things, and their hocuspocus beliefs are revealed through specific dishes eaten during Chinese New Year. People who can’t afford the fancy restaurants I listed here can still follow tradition and savor these foods at home.

Jiaozi (dumplings) are shaped like gold money from the Ming Dynasty. Eat these so you can be rich one day.

Pomegranates are red (a lucky color) and symbolize fertility (because of all the seeds). They’ll bring you good bounty.

Mien (noodles) will give you a long life. Especially if you eat long noodles.

Ping guo (apples) are also red and will bring you peace (ping ping an an). Notice the word play?

Nian gao (Chinese New Year cake) is this sweet sticky rice that I’m actually eating right now as I type. Yum.

How did you/how will you be celebrating the Year of the Dragon? Post your holiday spirit down below.

  • DGirl

    I’m hosting a soiree this weekend to celebrate. Howard Wang’s will do some of the food, I’ll do the rest. I host this party every year – very fun. Really glad I don’t have the ice and Superbowl to deal with this year. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

  • sab

    Ate tons of food with my dad’s side of the family! And drew a partial picture of a dragon on the whiteboard at work.

  • http://www.ebbybuildersales.com bobby

    This is my favorite Chinese year, I think I’ll celebrate with some dragon chicken, yum.

  • Andrew Chalk

    We shall celebrate with 50 of our closest friends, a 13 course menu, and BYOB